Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Wine Chronicles | Ervideira Wine Lounge




Last September 6th I had the privilege of being present at the inauguration of the new Wine Lounge of the Ervideira winery, near Évora. This innovative eno-touristic space, dedicated to wine tastings, presents a wide, functional and well decorated area, whose design was inspired by the landscape and the Alentejo culture, dazzling its visitors with a privileged view of the vineyards of Ervideira.

We were received by Duarte Leal da Costa, Executive Director of the winery and Nelson Rolo, the resident winemaker, who conducted the visit and commented on the wine tastings, sharing their deep knowledge and the creativity with which they have developed this project.





No passado dia 6 de setembro tive o privilégio de estar presente na inauguração do novo Wine Lounge da adega Ervideira, perto de Évora. Este inovador espaço eno-turístico, destinado a provas de vinho, apresenta uma área ampla, funcional e bem decorada, cujo design foi buscar inspiração à paisagem e à cultura alentejana, deslumbrando os visitantes com uma vista privilegiada para as vinhas da Ervideira.

Fomos recebidos por Duarte Leal da Costa, Director Executivo da vinícola e por Nelson Rolo, o enólogo residente, que conduziram a visita e comentaram as provas de vinhos, partilhando o seu profundo conhecimento e a criatividade com que têm desenvolvido este projecto.








Ervideira has been developing a remarkable work focused on creating premium wines, seeking not only to produce high quality wines, but also wines that are unique, such as Invisível (Invisible) or Vinho da Água (Water Wine). In the event of the opening, the theme of the day was the "Great Tasting Ervideira" and after a visit to the winery, all the guests had the opportunity to participate in this special event, which began with three beautiful sparkling wines.

The first toast was made with Conde D'Ervideira Rosé which, with the aroma conferred by the Aragonez and Alfrocheiro varieties, presents a rich aroma of plums and fresh cherries with a nice mineral touch. The Vinha D'Ervideira and the awaited Espumante da Água followed, both fruit of the Arinto, Antão Vaz, Alvarinho and Verdelho varieties. Starting from the same base, the remarkable difference comes from the fact that Espumante da Água spent several months submerged in the waters of Alqueva lake, which gives it subtlety and complexity in the aromas, while the Vinha D'Ervideira presents notes of tropical fruit.





A Ervideira tem vindo a desenvolver um trabalho focado na criação de vinhos premium, procurando não só produzir vinhos de elevada qualidade, como também vinhos que sejam únicos, como o Invisível ou o Vinho da Água. No evento da inauguração, o tema do dia foi a "Grande Prova Ervideira" e, após uma visita à adega, todos os convidados tiveram a possibilidade de participar nesta prova especial, que se iniciou em festa com três belíssimos  espumantes.

O primeiro brinde foi feito  com o Conde D'Ervideira Rosé que, com o aroma conferido pelas castas Aragonez e Alfrocheiro, apresenta um aroma rico em ameixas e cerejas frescas, com um agradável toque mineral. Seguiram-se o Vinha D'Ervideira e o aguardado Espumante da Água, ambos fruto das castas Arinto, Antão Vaz, Alvarinho e Verdelho. Partindo da mesma base, a diferença marcante vem do facto do Espumante da Água passar vários meses submerso nas águas do Alqueva, o que lhe confere subtileza e complexidade nos aromas, enquanto o Vinha D'Ervideira apresenta notas de fruta tropical.









Regarding white wines, we began with the Invisível (2017), which owes its name to the fact of, although is made from the red variety Aragonez, is made like a white. Elegant and full of aromas of Earl Gray Tea, Mint, Lima Peel and Salva, it is fresh in the mouth, with a good acidity, which makes it versatile in gastronomic terms, being able to be served at different temperatures (from 6º to 16 ° C). Being a white made from a variety of red grapes, it is launched every year on Fouls Day.

It was followed by the Conde D'Ervideira Private Selection (harvests of 2016 and 2017) made mostly by Antão Vaz and a bit of Arinto. We were able to appreciate the differences between the two wines, appearing the harvest of 2016 with fresher aromas, while the one of 2017 presents it self full of tropicality with evident mango touches. Definitely my favorite!






No capítulo dos brancos, começámos com o Invisível (2017), fruto de que, a partir da casta Aragonez, é feito como se fosse um branco. Elegante e pleno de aromas de Chá Earl Grey, Hortelã, Casca de Lima e Salva,   apresenta-se fresco na boca, com uma boa acidez, o  que o torna versátil em termos gastronómicos, podendo ser servido a diferentes temperaturas (dos 6º até aos 16ºC). Tratando-se de um branco feito a partir de uma casta de uvas tintas, é todos os anos lançado no dia 1 de Abril.

Seguiu-se o Conde D'Ervideira  Private Selection (colheitas de 2016 e 2017) feito maioritariamente de Antão Vaz e um pouco de Arinto. Podemos apreciar as diferenças entre os dois vinhos, surgindo a colheita de 2016 com aromas mais frescos, enquanto a de 2017 se apresenta plena de tropicalidade com evidentes toques de manga. Sem dúvida o meu favorito.







In this event we had as high point the tasting of the wines made by the great-grandfather of the current Executive Director. It was a moment loaded with emotion and full of meaning where we had the privilege of listening to family stories and taste the centenary wine Conde D'Ervideira 1st Generation. This amber-colored red has been a constant presence over the years in the Christmas supper and in the family's Easter lunch, and the generosity of our host is even more remarkable as there are only about 30 bottles of this 1928 wine left.





Nesta prova tivemos como ponto alto a prova dos vinhos do bisavô do actual Director Executivo. Foi um momento pleno de emoção e carregado de significado aquele em que tivemos o privilégio de escutar histórias da família e provar o vinho centenário Conde D’Ervideira 1ª Geração. Este tinto de cor âmbar foi, ao longo dos anos, presença constante na ceia de Natal e no almoço de Páscoa da família, sendo a generosidade do nosso anfitrião ainda mais notável por restarem apenas cerca de 30 garrafas deste vinho de 1928.








The tasting followed with the reds, of which stood out the recently released Bio-Nature (of organic agriculture). Intense color and exuberant aroma, highlighting blackberries, currants and plums, Bio-Nature (Trincadeira, Cabernet Sauvignon and Aragonez) reveals intensity and ends with a good persistence in the mouth.

The Conde D'Ervideira Reserva (2015), in which the variety Alicante Bouchet predominates, accompanied by Trincadeira, Aragonez, Cabernet Sauvignon and Touriga Nacional, and the Conde D'Ervideira Vinho da Água (2015), made up of Touriga Nacional, Aragonez, Trincadeira, Tinta Caiada, Alicante Bouchet and Cabernet Sauvignon.

We have also tasted the Conde D'Ervideira Private Selection of 2015 and 2017 (in this case, a sample of the barrel). This top of the range (based on Touriga Nacional, Alicante Bouchet and with a 12-month stage in oak barrels) presents an elegant and complex aromatic profile, associated with a striking structure, and a high persistence and longevity. The 2017 harvest is not yet on the market, but it was surely one of my favorites of this wine tasting and I will be attentive to its arrival at the specialty stores.







Seguiram-se os tintos, dos quais se destacou o recentemente lançado Bio-Nature (de agricultura biológica). De cor intensa e aroma exuberante, onde se salientam as amoras, groselhas e ameixas, o Bio-Nature (Trincadeira, Cabernet Sauvignon e Aragonez)  revela intensidade e termina com uma boa persistência na boca. 

Seguiram-se o Conde D'Ervideira Reserva (2015), no qual predomina a casta Alicante Bouchet, acompanhada de Trincadeira, Aragonez, Cabernet Sauvignon e Touriga Nacional, e o Conde D'Ervideira Vinho da Água (2015), composto por Touriga Nacional, Aragonez, Trincadeira, Tinta Caiada, Alicante Bouchet e Cabernet Sauvignon. 

Provámos, ainda, o Conde D'Ervideira Private Selection de 2015 e de 2017 (neste caso, uma amostra da barrica). Este topo de gama (à base de Touriga Nacional, Alicante Bouchet e com um estágio de 12 meses em barricas de carvalho) apresenta um elegante e complexo perfil aromático, associado a uma estrutura marcante, e a uma elevada persistência e longevidade. A colheita de 2017 ainda não está no mercado, mas foi seguramente um dos meus favoritos desta prova e ficarei atenta à sua chegada às lojas da especialidade.










The event was concluded with the new Vinha D'Ervideira Licoroso and with the invitation to taste any other wine that we wanted. Sweet and captivating, this liqueur red is based on the Tinta Caiada grape variety, and in the process it is added brandy wine in order to preserve the sweetness that fills its aroma with currants and ripe fruits. A real treat!






A prova foi concluída com o novo Vinha D’Ervideira Licoroso e com o convite a provar qualquer outro vinho que desejássemos. Doce e cativante, este tinto licoroso, tem por base a casta Tinta Caiada, sendo no processo adicionada aguardente vínica de forma a preservar a doçura que matiza o seu aroma a esteva, groselhas e frutas maduras. Uma verdadeira delícia!







There followed a meal that, in the good Alentejo way, delighted us with the "petiscos" (sort of tapas), not lacking a delicious soup to comfort the soul. The meal was concluded with an assortment of regional desserts, each one better than the other. In the savory side, the beautiful "pataniscas" (cod fried cakes), the pig feet with coriander and the "tomatada" with eggs of quail made my delights. In the sweet section, I could not help but taste a little of everything. All superb, without exception!





Seguiu-se um repasto que, à boa maneira alentejana, nos deliciou com os petiscos, não faltando uma belíssima sopa para reconfortar a alma, e  concluindo com um sortido de doces da região, cada um melhor que o outro. Nos salgados, as belas pataniscas, os pézinhos de coentrada e a tomatada com ovos de codorniz fizeram as minhas delícias. Já nos doces, não consegui evitar provar um pouco de tudo, da sericaia à encharcada, passando pelo pão de rala. Todos soberbos, sem excepção!







At Ervideira, visitors will be able to visit the winery, and finish with a long wine tasting of the different wines produced there, accompanied by "petiscos Alentejanos", with visiting hours at 11.00, 12.30, 15.00 and 16.30 hours, at a cost of € 15 per adult, note that the tasting has no limit on the number of sampled wines.

Groups of 25 people can book the Wine Lounge for a tasting session, followed by a meal like the one I described. These events last for 3 hours (from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm), including a visit to the winery, 10 wine tasting and a meal and cost € 35 per adult.






Neste espaço, os visitantes poderão visitar a adega Ervideira, e terminar com uma longa prova dos diferentes vinhos ali produzidos, acompanhado de “petiscos Alentejanos”, com horários de visitas às 11.00, 12.30, 15.00 e 16.30 horas, com o custo de 15€ por adulto, de notar que a prova não tem limite em número de vinhos em degustação.

Grupos de 25 pessoas, podem reservar a sala para uma sessão de provas, seguida de uma refeição como a que descrevi. Estes eventos têm a duração de 3 horas (das 18:00 às 21:00), incluindo visita à adega, prova de 10 vinhos e refeição  e têm um custo de 35€ por adulto.








The winery is less than 2 hours from Lisbon and your visit can be combined with a trip to Évora or Monsaraz on a perfect day trip from the Portuguese capital.





A adega fica a menos de 2 horas de Lisboa e a sua visita pode ser combinada com um passeio a Évora ou a Monsaraz, numa day trip perfeita a partir da capital.






ERVIDEIRA
Herdadinha — Vendinha
7200 - 042 Reguengos de Monsaraz
Portugal
ervideira@ervideira
+351 266 950 010





Friday, 31 August 2018

Instagram Best 9 | July + August





July and August were really busy months. Hard work weeks in Lisbon alternate with exciting weeks traveling to some of the most gorgeous islands in the Mediterranean. July was time to visit Malta. We stayed most of the time in Valletta, at the lovely Boutique Hotel Jean Parisot, but we also loved our days in Gozo and Comino, with the unforgettable Blue Lagoon.

Back to Portugal, a long weekend by the Alqueva lake  and a return to Monsaraz and Évora were also highlights of the month of July. August was time to travel to Cyprus where we stayed at the stunning Almyra Hotel. A tour to the Akamas Peninsula, a mix of coastal and mountains experience and a visit to Nicosia, completed this perfect vacations.

Now I'm back to Lisbon and to work, ready to bring you more on my city and country. Until the next monthly wrap-up, leave you with the nine photos that are the Top 9 for July and August on our Instagram account. You can follow us there for daily photos, tips, and stories.


Friday, 27 July 2018

Chronicles from Malta | Valletta Food Trail





I love food and all about it! Love roaming through the markets to find an ingredient, love preparing and cooking the food for my family and friends, love to test new recipes and to reinvent old ones, and absolutely love to know a country and its people through the things they eat and their culinary tradition.

That being stated its understandable that, when possible, a Food Tour run by local people can be a great occasion to know more about the country or city that I'm visiting, its history and culture. That was the case on our recent visit to Malta. While in Valletta we were kindly invited to participate in the Offbeat Valletta Food Trail, and the outstanding organization of the event, the remarkable knowledge and sympathy of our guide Maria, and the (huge amounts of) delicious food that we had the opportunity to taste, made that morning a high point of our voyage.

But let's go to the specifics. At 10 o'clock the group gathered in front of St. John Co-Cathedral, and after a briefing on the basics of Maltese food, we started our tour. If you want a suggestion, do this kind of tours on the first days of your visit, because you'll get solid tips for some of the best places to eat delicious food.


TAL-HWAWAR - THE SPICE SHOP





If you are lucky enough (we were!) you get a guide that knows the city and its history so well that your food tour becomes also a city tour. Maria's knowledge of Malta's and Valletta's history was pair only to her ability to tell a story and capture our attention at every moment. So, after a short walk and a load of interesting information, the group was at Tal-Hwawar's door, a small Spice Shop in the heart of Valletta. The owner received us and teach how to make a spice mixture to perfume the house (the same one that is used in Valletta's churches on special occasions). You can imagine the perfume!





IL-GIFEN





With a pack of fragrant spices in hand, we walk to our next stop. Il-Gifen is a small local café where we had the opportunity to enjoy some authentic Maltese Pastizzi, freshly made and still warm accompanied by a traditional "tazza te", a glass of hot tea with milk, just the way the locals drink it in the morning. The pastry was crispy and flaky, with a delicious ricotta filling, and although I was a little apprehensive about the tea, I've found it quite nice.






NENU THE ARTISAN BAKER





Our next stop was at this bakery/ restaurant/museum place that is Nenu. There you can find photos and scenes from the old day's bakery, decorating the restaurant space and bringing past and present together. We had the opportunity to know more about the history of the bakery and the role that bakeries had in the community life of Malta (pretty much like Portugal, in that respect), and of course to taste some of the specialties of the house. The traditional Maltese Ftiras with fresh indigenous ingredients arrived at our table straight from the oven next door, and I must say it was delicious. I'm a pizza lover, and the Ftira also presents a high soft base (like bread) covered with different sorts of options. I choose the vegetables Ftira and it was really tasty. To wash it down I've had a local soda Kinnie) with a distinctive orange and herbs flavor. Although this is not my kind of drink, if you go to Malta you should give it a try.






KING'S OWN BAND CLUB





By this time we were already with a full stomach and we only had starters (actually not all the starters!). So, we walk to our next stop, right on Republic Street. The King's Own Band Club is the restaurant operating in the building of one of the many Valletta's bands and there we had a Maltese platter with varied dips, followed by a rabbit dish, one of the main culinary traditions in Malta. All of it accompanied by a fresh local white wine. The rabbit was tender and perfectly seasoned and, although is not an option for everyone (people with bunny pets find it difficult to eat) if you're a foodie, this is not to be missed in a visit to Malta.







CHOCOLATE DISTRICT





And then we head to paradise! At least to chocaholics paradise... Chocolate District is the most charming chocolate store and its owners are such welcoming nice people that I wouldn't mind to stay there for the rest of the day. They have a beautiful selection of chocolates from top brands along with their own creations, making Chocolate District a perfect place to buy some gifts to bring back home. There we had the opportunity to try a signature drink of chocolate and fig liqueur and the delicious chocolate torrone of the house.







PANORAMA





One could think that we had already had dessert, right? Well, wrong... we still had more to come. From Chocolate District we head to Panorama, a restaurant facing the Grand Harbour. And it was with the panoramic view of the Three Cities that we finished our Food Tour, sipping a Prickly Pear liqueur and enjoying a traditional Mqaret, a fried pastry filled with dates. The conversation was good, and both Maltese, Danish, Australian, and Portuguese were sharing their food preferences and experiences. But our tour was ending and this foodies fellowship had to part, but I'm sure all will remember this experience as a high point of their visit to Valletta.






The tour takes place every Saturday, at 10am and includes 3  flavour filled hours (until 1 pm). For more informations on how to book this food tour, contact


OFFBEAT MALTA FOOD TRAILS

E-mail: info@offbeatmaltafoodtrails.com
Phone: +356 2180 2383

Adults and children 12 years+ : 65 € (VAT included).
Price includes: Licensed Tour Guide + All Food Tastings +1 copy of The Definitive(ly) Good Guide to Restaurants in Malta & Gozo








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